Rising in the morning, Hira went to her work. For the past two days there had been a great tumult in the Datta house, because Kunda Nandini was not to be found. It was known to all the household that she had gone away in anger. It was also known to some of the neighbours. Nagendra heard that Kunda had gone, but no one told him the reason. He thought to himself, "Kunda has left because she does not think it right to remain in the house after what I said to her. If so, why does she not go with Kamal?" Nagendra's brow was clouded. No one ventured to come near him. He knew not what fault Surja Mukhi had committed, yet he held no intercourse with her, but sent a female spy into the neighbourhood to make search for Kunda Nandini.
Surja Mukhi was much distressed on hearing of Kunda's flight, especially as Kamal Mani had assured her that what Debendra had said was not worthy of credit: for if she had had any bond with Debendra during three years, it could not have remained unknown; and Kunda's disposition gave no reason for suspicion of such a thing. Debendra was a drunkard, and in his cups he spoke falsely. Thinking over this, Surja Mukhi's distress increased. In addition to that, her husband's displeasure hurt her severely. A hundred times she abused Kunda--a thousand times she blamed herself. She also sent people in search of Kunda.
Kamal's postponed her departure for Calcutta. She abused no one. She did not use a word of scolding to Surja Mukhi. Loosening her necklace from her throat, she showed it to all the household, saying, "I will give this to whomsoever will bring Kunda back."
The guilty Hira heard and saw all this, but said nothing. Seeing the necklace she coveted it, but repressed her desire. On the second day, arranging her work, she went at noon, at which hour her grandmother would be bathing, to give Kunda her meal. At night the two made their bed, and laid down together. Neither Hira nor Kunda slept: Kunda was kept awake by her sorrow; Hira by the mingled happiness and trouble of her thoughts. But whatever her thoughts were she did not give them words--they remained hidden.
Oh, Hira! Hira! you have not an evil countenance, you too are young; why this vice in your heart? Why did the Creator betray her? Because the Creator betrayed her, does she therefore wish to betray others? If Hira were in Surja Mukhi's place, would she be so deceitful? Hira says "No!" But sitting in Hira's place she speaks as Hira. People say all evil that occurs is brought about by the wicked. Wicked people say, "I should have been virtuous, but through the faults of others have become evil." Some say, "Why has not five become seven?" Five says, "I would have been seven, but two and five make seven. If the Creator or the Creator's creatures had given me two more, I should have been seven." So thought Hira.
Hira said to herself: "Now what shall I do? Since the Creator has given me the opportunity, why should I lose it through my own fault? On the one side, if I take Kunda home to the Dattas, Kamal will give me the necklace, and the <em>Grihini</em> also will give me something. Shall I spare the Babu? On the other hand, if I give Kunda to Debendra Babu, I shall get a large sum of money at once. But I can't do that. Why does Debendra think Kunda so beautiful? If I had good food, dressed well, took my ease like a fine lady in a picture, I could be the same. So simple a creature as Kunda can never understand the merits of Debendra Babu. If there were no mud there would be no lotus, and Kunda is the only woman who can excite love in Debendra Babu. Every one to their destiny! But why am I angry? Why should I trouble myself? I used to jest at love--I used to say it is mere talk, a mere story. Now I laugh no longer. I used to say, 'If anyone loves let him love; I shall never love any one.' Fate said, 'Wait, you will see by and by.' In trying to seize the robber of other's wealth, I have lost my own heart. What a face! what a neck! what a figure! is there another man like him? That the fellow should tell <em>me</em> to bring Kunda to him! Could he set no one else this task? I could have struck him in the face! I have come to love him so dearly, I could even find pleasure in striking him. But let that pass. In that path there is danger; I must not think of it. I have long ceased to look for joy or sorrow in this life. Nevertheless, I cannot give Kunda into Debendra's hand; the thought of it torments me. Rather I will so manage that she shall not fall in his way. How shall I effect that? I will place Kunda where she was before, thus she will escape him. Whether he dress as <em>Boisnavi</em> or <em>Vasudeva</em>, he will not obtain admission into that house; therefore it will be well to take Kunda back there. But she will not go! Her face is set against the house. But if all coax her she must go. Another design I have in my mind; will God permit me to carry it out? Why am I so angry with Surja Mukhi? She never did me any harm; on the contrary, she loves me and is kind to me. Why, then, am I angry? Because Surja Mukhi is happy, and I am miserable; she is great, I am mean; she is mistress, I am servant; therefore my anger against her is strong. If, you say, God made her great, how is that her fault? Why should I hurt her? I reply, God has done me harm. Is that my fault? I do not wish to hurt her, but if hurting her benefits me, why should I not do it? Who does not seek his own advantage? Now I want money; I can't endure servitude any longer. Where will money come from? From the Datta house--where else? To get the Datta money, then, must be my object. Every one knows that Nagendra Babu's eyes have fallen on Kunda; the Babu worships her. What great people wish, they can accomplish. The only obstacle is Surja Mukhi. If the two should quarrel, then the great Surja Mukhi's wish will no longer be regarded. Now, let me see if I cannot bring about a quarrel. If that is done, the Babu will be free to worship Kunda. At present Kunda is but an innocent, but I will make her wise; I will soon bring her into subjection. She can be of much assistance to me. If I give my mind to it, I can make her do what I will. If the Babu devotes himself to Kunda, he will do what she bids him; and she shall do what I bid her. So shall I receive the fruits of his devotion. If I am not to serve longer, this is the way it must be brought about. I will give Kunda Nandini to Nagendra, but not suddenly. I will hide her for a few days and see what happens. Love is deepened by separation. If I keep them apart the Babu's love will ripen. Then I will bring out Kunda and give her to him. Then if Surja Mukhi's fate is not broken, it must be a very strong fate. In the meantime I will mould Kunda to my will. But, first, I must send my grandmother to Kamarghat, else I cannot keep Kunda hidden."
[Footnote 12: <em>Vasudeva</em>--the father of Krishna.]
With this design, Hira set about her arrangements. On some pretext she induced her grandmother to go to the house of a relative in the village of Kamarghat, and kept Kunda closely concealed in her own house. Kunda, seeing all her zeal and care, thought to herself, "There is no one living so good as Hira. Even Kamal does not love me so much."